By Gabrielle Rente
Elm Staff Writer
As the weather warms up, it is important to remind ourselves of all the ways we can help our beautiful earth.
Take Notes Electronically: Instead of scribbling notes frantically before the professor changes the slide, try writing your notes on a laptop or tablet. Typing your notes not only saves on paper and ink (or graphite, depending on your preference), but it also makes it easier to organize your notes and share them.
Grow It Yourself: This is probably the most enjoyable activity that anyone can do. You can acquire four packets of seeds from the dollar store along with a small bag of potting soil for the lovely price of two dollars. Containers for your plants are easy to come by. Just go to your closest recycling bin, take out several water bottles, and cut them up to make little holders for your seedlings. Coming up with names for your sprouts is another fun experience.
Refillable Water Bottles: To reduce usage of plastic, use a refillable water bottle instead of purchasing bottled water. This not only reduces the production of plastic, but also saves your wallet. Brita water bottles are high quality, and while they are pricey they make a worthy investment.
Switch to Reusable Bags: The next time you make a trip to the grocery store, invest in a reusable bag. This also reduces plastic production reducer and saves you a trip to the store to recycle the bags. Most grocery stores and pharmacies have them available near the check-out, and they can often be obtained for free with store promotions.
Buy Less or Borrow: In a consumer culture like ours, it can be almost too easy to fall into the nasty habit of buying more than we need or even want. This has an incredible impact on the production of waste that piles up into our landfills. WAC Free and For Sale is a Facebook page that is an excellent source for recycling pre-used items. If you do need to make a purchase, Birchbox has a website that helps you search for environmentally-friendly brands.
Eat Less Meat: According to a report from the United Nations, “cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation, and smarter production methods, including improved animal diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions, are urgently needed.” Omitting meat from at least one meal a week has a great impact, but if you do eat meat, look for labels specifying free-range, and free of hormones and antibiotics. Buying local produce is a great way to start. Chestertown has its Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon where you can purchase a variety of goods to support the local community.
Driving Alternatives: If there is a chance for you to travel using any other mode besides car, then go for it. Luckily for us, we live in a small town where most businesses and places are within walking distance. The Student Government Association also offers free bicycle rentals though the program Bike Share. If it does look like you’ll need a car to get to your destination, try carpooling with some friends if you are all going to the same place.